Amandla Stenberg is TeenVogue’s Feb ’16 Cover Girl! Talks being Called the ‘N-Word’ & More in Interview with Solange Knowles


When we first got introduced to young black actress, Amandla Stenberg, she was the young Rue, who battled alongside Jennifer Lawrence in The Hunger Games Part 2. Prior to that, the world got a whiff of her strong voice and character after her video – Don’t Cash Crop by Cornrows – went viral.

After that moment, her name was added to the list of young African/American women revolutionizing the walls of African/American beauty today.

For the February 2016 edition of TeenVogue, Amandla sits with fellow Black beauty reformer, Solange Knowles for an interview between ‘sistas’. In a few minutes they touch on race, Natural Hair, cultural appropriation, being a black actress, the machine that is Hollywood and more.

‘Read excerpts from the interview and see shots of Amandla for the magazine below;


On being called the ‘N-Word’ and realizing she would have to take a stand as a Black actress in Hollywood
It was when I was 12 and I got cast in The Hunger Games, and people called me the N-word and said that the death of my character, Rue, would be less sad because I was black. That was the first moment I realized being black was such a crucial part of my identity in terms of the way that I was perceived and how it would affect any line of work that I wanted to pursue. I often find myself in situations where I am the token black person. It can feel like this enormous weight. I have definitely had moments when my hair felt too big or like I needed to make myself smaller.

Smaller and easier to digest. And that’s still something that I struggle with now, you know? But I think, honestly, social media has changed that in a lot of ways because in the past you could look only to movies or TV or music or celebrities in order to feel like you had representation. Now you can go on Instagram and you can see a girl who looks like you who is killing the game and expressing herself. Just being able to see that is so affirming.

Amandla Stenberg for TeenVogue - BellaNaija - January 2016005

Does she get tired of discussing the topic of natural hair?
Yo — yes! It’s so funny. I have many white friends who come up to me and they’re like, “Amandla, so this weekend I’m going to go out, and I was wondering if it’s OK if I could wear cornrows just on Saturday?” [Laughs] I’m tired of talking about who can have whichever style. Because I’ve said my thing.

But I’m not tired of talking about hair in the sense of it being an empowering thing. I know when I used to chemically straighten mine, I did it because I wasn’t comfortable with my natural hair. I thought it was too poofy, too kinky. So for me, personally, when I started wearing it natural, it felt like I was blossoming because I was letting go of all the dead hair and all the parts of me that had rejected my natural state. But, you know, it’s not like that for all black girls. Some have their hair straight because that’s just how they like it, and it doesn’t mean that they accept themselves any less.

Amandla Stenberg for TeenVogue - BellaNaija - January 2016002

On being friends with Willow Smith, Lorde, Tavi Gevinson, Kiernan Shipka…
Oh, man. Well, Kiernan has been by my side since the beginning. Willow is amazing. I feel like we were just meant to be friends. We were kind of vibing off each other from afar, and then she hit me up and was like, “Let’s hang out!” She has the most magnetic, radiant energy ever. Whenever we hang out we just laugh and we sing and we dance and we go hiking. And then Tavi — I was the biggest Rookie fan since forever. I checked it daily, hourly. Then Rookie asked me to do an interview, and now Tavi is one of my closest friends. We talk about everything and bounce ideas off each other; I send her some of my scripts, and she sends them back. I have a friend who has this thing called “shine theory,” which basically says that when you become friends with other ?powerful, like-minded people, you all just shine brighter.

Read more from the interview on

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22 Comments on Amandla Stenberg is TeenVogue’s Feb ’16 Cover Girl! Talks being Called the ‘N-Word’ & More in Interview with Solange Knowles
  • tiana January 8, 2016 at 7:39 pm

    I don’t know but she looks mixed race to me……………………maybe wrong – If she is mixed race i wonder if she celebrates her other heritage as much as she does the black side

    • Frida January 9, 2016 at 3:00 pm

      Exactly! I feel any biracial individual who identifies as black because of the ‘one drop’ rule is still a slave to the slavery ideology.

      Why should I supress the other half of my identity because some idiots feel that a tiny drop of black makes me black.

      If you’re biracial….you’re biracial….half black…half white…not one or the other….you have the best of both races…glory in it!

      • tiana January 9, 2016 at 4:31 pm

        Frida – You couldn’t not have put it any better – i don’t know why they are quick to claim black – will have more respect for people if they can embrace all they are made of rather than picking a side – if my child was mixed race i will encourage them to celebrate both – its out of order if they reject the other side. who cares what society thinks – its about looking in the mirror and accepting what you are made of and being proud of all of it.. If i was a journalist and interviewing these so called stars who clearly look mixed race and they claim black – i will challenge them. Its disrespectful to the other parents heritage which they don’t claim.

      • Mixed Chic January 10, 2016 at 9:49 am

        Tell that the owners of this site who have a bi-racial mum as said by Nkechi. When is this highlighted on here. Um never. Ko necessary.

        Unless they want to do it now because of my comment.

        If Amanda wants to highlight her black side that is her choice abi Bella, Nkechi no bi so?

  • Adaeze Ibechukwu
    Adaeze Ibechukwu January 8, 2016 at 7:44 pm

    She’s so pretty!

    For amazing stories, visit

  • bruno January 8, 2016 at 7:50 pm

    ” Black beauty reformer solange knowles”

    REALLY? u called solange a Black beauty reformer? this is a very violent black woman who attacked her brother in law violently in an elevator for 3 minutes straight. she didn’t even have the decency to apologise to her fans and to the public for behaving unruly.
    this very violent uncultured woman keeps getting endorsement deals (puma sneakers) and magazines covers and she keeps getting invited to fashion shows and fancy.

    as a woman in today’s society u can behave unruly in public without any consequences. chris brown has been apologising and paying dearly for over how many years now for the rihanna incidentbut still he still cant catch a break. he was even ban from entering Australia.
    well done feminist

    • Naomi January 8, 2016 at 8:17 pm

      U will still explode from this bitterness against Solange and women in general…Huff and Puff till u explode!!

      • Lem January 8, 2016 at 8:40 pm

        @ Naomi, sorry but Bruno does have a point. She behaved violently
        against a man and has been seemingly rewarded for it many times without having to make any valid explanation or apology.

      • Idomagirl January 9, 2016 at 3:22 am

        It’s not bitterness, he has a point.
        If a man had done a fraction of that his career would be over.

    • tiana January 8, 2016 at 8:39 pm

      so true bruno – never thought of the solange thing like that. Not a great example coming from a mother with a young son. Am surprised no one has called her out. Mind you her and her sister think they are untouchable.

    • Karashika January 8, 2016 at 10:32 pm

      Solange doesn’t owe anybody any bloody apology. That incident that happened was a private matter between her family, blame the thirsty media for putting it out to the public. I don’t see u apologising for any domestic u hv with your family.

      • Dentale January 8, 2016 at 11:45 pm

        You sound stupid! Come on… most domestic violence incidents are private matters within the family until they become exposed. So based on your skewed analysis, no violent person needs to apologise for their cave man/woman behavior.

      • Idomagirl January 9, 2016 at 3:24 am

        Karashika, The incidences of domestic violence tht scream ourselves hoarse over are they also not “private” matters between families.

    • Latifa January 10, 2016 at 9:40 am

      Wow Bruno you just said it all. The world seems to forget that men also go through physical a abuse from women, abuse is abuse regardless of what gender is going through it hence the penalty should be same.

  • SA girl January 8, 2016 at 9:01 pm

    Bruno why are you so transphobic and misogynist?

  • farida January 8, 2016 at 9:41 pm

    Haterz dem..its not about solange… Hian..face ya life biko

  • Natu January 8, 2016 at 11:28 pm

    Love this chica right here. She is smart and pretty.

  • Tri January 9, 2016 at 1:13 am

    She kinda looks like Mbong Amata.

    • Idomagirl January 9, 2016 at 3:25 am

      Yes! That’s who she looks like.

  • @edDREAMZ January 9, 2016 at 1:39 pm

    She has really grown though… Pretty mama no doubt…

  • hezekina pollutina January 9, 2016 at 8:07 pm

    amandla, act in something. u have not invented anything your spouting or broadcasting so aside from u being the favored black black flavor of mainstream eurocentric media representing black-ishness, i do not know what u want? wanna change the world? then do something major. otherwise u are a hipster….

    • boring January 9, 2016 at 11:52 pm

      She goes on and on about black this blackt that_ so boring. You never hear her mention her white danish father. People who are black know they are black _they don’t sing and dance about it every 5 minutes. Wish the media would refer to her as biracial..

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